Wyoming Spring Creek Field Study Introduction: Maclaine Oskin

Hello! My name is Maclaine Oskin and I am a rising sophomore hoping to pursue an environmental science and urban studies double major throughout my undergrad here at the University of Pittsburgh. After graduation I am interested in exploring the implications of urbanization on the environment, as well as the integration and amalgamation of natural and urban landscapes that is imperative in constructing more sustainable and eco-friendly cities into the future. On a more personal note, I greatly enjoy all things biking and hiking and have more recently tried my hand at some newer hobbies such as baking and gardening. 

Over the course of the next six weeks I will be finishing out my summer by participating in the Wyoming Spring Creek Field Studies program. A six credit deep dive into the ecological, geological, and paleontological history of the southeastern Wyoming, this course will not only grant us regionally specific knowledge, but also provide an introductory to universal field skills that will help hone our analytical and critical thinking that we will take with us and find invaluable to future research and career pursuits. Majoratively based out of Laramie, Wyoming the course takes full advantage of its optimal location in the heart of the American West with plentiful day hikes, camping, and educational field trips to state landmarks such as Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons National Parks. The trip concludes with the completion of an independent research of our own genesis, in which we may apply our new found knowledge of scientific methodology, data analytics, and practical field techniques. 

So far in my college experience I have only encountered the prototypical class structure which is inherently constrained by its set location and periodic laboratory examples. When I stumbled along the Wyoming Spring Creek program I was excited to find such an unrivaled course in practical field experience and immersion into the learning environment. The topical focus of this course prepares me for work that I will likely encounter in graduate programs and in my future career giving early exposure to real life applicatical experience. With relatively minimal experience with camping or backpacking I am a bit nervous going into this trip, but for the most part I am excited and appreciative to take part in this program and am looking forward to meeting a community of like-minded, intellectually curious individuals that are interested and care deeply about the environment. Additionally as a bonus, this course satisfies a field credit requirement for my environmental science major. 

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